Kansas City Institute of Podiatry – Hammer Toe Specialist
When you first notice hammertoe, you may not have any pain, so you’re tempted to ignore the problem. Our doctors want you to know that conservative treatments can fix your hammertoe at an early stage, but you may need surgical intervention if you wait to get help. If you have questions about hammertoe or would like to schedule an appointment, use Kansas City Institute of Podiatry’s online booking or call their office in Overland Park, Kansas.
Hammertoe is a deformity that affects your second, third, or fourth toes. It occurs when a toe is bent at its middle joint, making it look like a hammer.
This type of deformity develops from an imbalance in the muscles that bend and straighten your toes. The muscles responsible for bending begin to tighten when your toe stays in a bent position for an extended period. Over time, it’s impossible for the opposite muscle to straighten the toe.
Improperly fitting shoes
Shoes that don’t fit properly are the most common cause of hammertoe. High-heeled shoes and shoes that don’t have enough space for your toes are the top culprits because they force your toes into a bent position.
You might be at a higher risk for hammertoe if you suffered a prior injury, such as a jammed or broken toe.
Foot conditions, such as flat feet, high arches, or bunions, may lead to hammertoe. Diseases that affect your bones, muscles, and soft tissues also increase your chance of developing hammertoe.
Besides a visibly bent toe, you may develop:
- Pain from wearing shoes
- Corns on top of or between your toes
- Callus on the ball of your foot
- Joint inflammation
- Open sores
Hammertoe progressively worsens, so it’s essential to get early treatment. When hammertoe first develops, the structures in your toe are still flexible, and your symptoms are mild. The toe gradually becomes more rigid until it becomes fixed in a bent position.
The doctors at Kansas City Institute of Podiatry can effectively treat hammertoe with noninvasive therapies while the toe is still flexible. Once it’s inflexible, you need surgery to fix it.
Nonsurgical options include:
- Footwear: Switch to shoes with low heels and a toe box that accommodates your toes.
- Orthotic devices: customized orthotics to control muscle imbalance
- Splinting or strapping: realigns your toe
- Padding for corns and calluses: prevents irritation and pain
- Exercises: specialized exercises to stretch toe muscles
- Corticosteroid injections: reduces inflammation and pain
Early treatment for hammertoe is essential, so call Kansas City Institute of Podiatry or use online booking to schedule an appointment.